Knowledge Capture & Retention

Learning from experience and retaining that knowledge for future use is one of the most basic needs in all organizations. However, it isn’t always easy to capture and document what we know and learn, especially when the subject changes rapidly, is complex and ambiguous. There’s an art to knowledge harvesting and capture, but it can be taught and enabled by standard practices and proven techniques.


We pioneered the capture of explicit and tacit knowledge in the form of re-usable, media-rich, web-based Knowledge Assets when intranets were first implemented in organizations. Since then, we’ve developed powerful elicitation techniques and learned how to effectively gather, distil, and contextually package and publish knowledge in ways that enable its timely re-use and adaptation by others.

This is becoming especially important for organizations impacted by an aging workforce. People have always retired from their jobs and taken valuable knowledge with them. But, this is the first time in history that the exodus of retiring workers has been this large or occurred at the same time. The sheer volume means the traditional forms of transfer through informal apprenticeships and job handover practices just can't keep up. The good news is not everything retiring workers know needs to be captured. And, there are some things people new in a job need to learn for themselves.

But, when knowledge critical to the future of the organization may be lost, the organization needs to act effectively to retain and transfer this valuable resource. Exit interviews can help, but typically aren't enough to make the effort worthwhile and often the employees heart is not in it. There are better ways to facilitate the capture and transfer of knowledge from an aging workforce, to make it more part of the job and also involve the receivers as part of the process. Since many of these receivers will be from a different generation, their learning preferences will likely be different and need to be taken into account. We have deep experience in generational knowledge transfer and engaging retiring employees to harvest their critical knowledge in ways that benefit all parties.

Whether you’re in an emergency situation and critical knowledge is about to walk out the door, or you have the time to build a systematic and sustainable solution to knowledge retention, we have the skills and deep experience to meet your needs.

The following resources can help you get started and are available as free downloads:

10 Step Guide to Knowledge Capture

A ‘how to’ guide for codifying and documenting specific knowledge for re-use and adaptation. Includes generational adaptations to help deal with the learning preferences of a multi-generational workforce.

Guide to Knowledge Elicitation Interviews

A guide for eliciting and gathering knowledge from individuals at all levels of experience. Based on a conversational process using open inquiry and the concepts of reflection in presence.


For more information about our approach to knowledge capture & retention, see our featured story.


Contact us to help you build sustainable capability for knowledge capture and retention, or if you just want to harvest some critical experience before it walks out the door.